Now, I would also like to announce that I just signed into law a bill that will help grow our economy, save and create new jobs and provide relief to struggling families and businesses. The need for such a measure was made clear by the jobs report that we received this morning. Although we lost fewer jobs than we did last month, our unemployment rate climbed to over 10 percent — a sobering number that underscores the economic challenges that lie ahead.
When we first came into office our immediate goal was to stop the freefall that caused our economy to shrink at an alarming rate. We have succeeded in achieving that goal, as our economy grew last quarter for the first time in a year. But history tells us that job growth always lags behind economic growth, which is why we have to continue to pursue measures that will create new jobs. And I can promise you that I won’t let up until the Americans who want to find work can find work and until all Americans can earn enough to raise their families and keep their businesses open.
The bill I signed today will help folks do that while continuing to grow our economy. It’s a bill that extends unemployment benefits for up to 20 additional weeks, with the longest extension for the hardest-hit states. Already these benefits have helped 16 million unemployed Americans, and now that I’ve signed this bill, an additional 700,000 Americans who are still searching for work will be able to sign up for an extension of those benefits immediately.
Although the extension will help over 1 million Americans, it won’t just put money into the people’s pockets who are receiving the benefits. Economists tell us that when these benefits are spent on food or clothing or rent, it actually strengthens our economy and creates new jobs.
Now, this bill will also cut taxes for struggling businesses, with even larger cuts for small businesses, which means that thousands of entrepreneurs will get the cash they need to avoid laying off workers or closing their doors, and will extend the tax credit for all home buyers through April of next year while strengthening it with stronger anti-fraud measures.
The rebound in the housing market was one of the big factors that contributed to the growth of the economy last quarter, and brought hundreds of thousands of families into the housing market. We want to give even more families the chance to own their own home.
Now, it’s important to note that the bill I signed will not add to our deficit. It is fully paid for, and so it is fiscally responsible. It builds on a Recovery Act that’s already saved or created over 100 — over 1 million jobs, and it will lead to even more in the weeks and months ahead.
We will also build on the measure I signed today with further steps to grow our economy in the future. To that end my economic team is looking at ideas such as additional investments in our aging roads and bridges, incentives to encourage families and businesses to make buildings more energy-efficient, additional tax cuts for businesses to create jobs, additional steps to increase the flow of credit to small businesses, and an aggressive agenda to promote exports and help American manufacturers sell their products around the world.
So although it will take time and it will take patience, I am confident that our economy will recover. I’m confident that we’re moving in the right direction. And I promise that I won’t rest until America prospers once again.
Thank you, everybody.